A New Dream: Building the Foundation for a Happier Life and a Healthier World.
Today’s Canadian or American dream works – and it doesn’t: Go to school, get some debt, get a job, pay some debt, get married, have kids, have a beer, pay more debt, keep working and hopefully one day retire into a life of bliss. While this ‘standard dream’ can definitely provide for some happiness and opportunity for personal growth, it’s also causing increasing financial and physical strain, stress and unhappiness. Its stating to rust, and show some holes.
Given this, many are beginning to look for something more meaningful and fulfilling. Something different, but also deeper and more personal. Maybe you’re one of the individuals seeking realistic lifestyle options and freedoms that more closely fit your own values and views – whether it be starting a business, more time with family and friends, less debt and financial stress, less work, more travelling and adventure, an early retirement or anything else.
So if its time for a new, more personalised lifestyle dream – how could we realistically begin achieving it?
It turns out that there is one powerful idea that, to varying degrees, can benefit us all. Focusing on this one idea can make all the difference in opening the floodgates to a more enjoyable future, full of choices and freedoms. This is the idea of replacing limiting thoughts and beliefs of Scarcity, with thoughts and beliefs of Abundance.
Scarcity Mentality Vs. Abundance Mentality
The main idea behind Scarcity is that there is not enough. That there is not enough money, not enough stuff, not enough freedom or opportunity to go around. It is the kind of thinking that says ‘If one person takes a bigger piece of the pie, then there won’t be enough pie left for me’. Although usually beyond our immediate awareness, the scarcity mentality can be very, very powerful.
Going back literally millions of years in human history, there was a time when food and resources truly were scarce and this threatened our survival. Nowadays, however, the idea that there is not enough is promoted by powerful corporate interests and the media. So the scarcity instinct that once helped us gain the confidence to tackle sabre-tooth tigers out in the wild is now used to influence us to buy more stuff and live a life within a standardised, outdated dream where we might not be reaching our true potential. Moreover, leading academic research in marketing, psychology and economics confirms the negative long term effects of scarcity based thinking.
So, far from fluffy motivation or positive thinking advice that permeates society, Abundance thinking is an exercise for building long term, reliable will-power and self-efficacy. In doing so, this can empower you to remove the fluffy stuff that may be holding you back from what really matters.
Why is Altrua Financial interested in helping replace Scarcity with Abundance?
In order to help you get the most out of your finances, it’s important that obstacles and limitations be understood and reduced. Because the scarcity mentality can produce so many limiting internal obstacles, it often gets in the way of our mutual goal, which is working together to achieve your unique dreams and lifestyle.
Most Banks and financial organisations rely on carefully crafted and deeply rooted scarcity tactics to build their business; Altrua relies on educating and creating awareness to help build ours. Our mortgage brokers, life insurance specialists and financial planners all take into account your unique goals in providing coherent, customised financial solutions.
So by first recognising how scarcity affects us or ‘manifests’ within ourselves, and then by focusing on replacing scarcity with an abundance mentality – this is all that is needed to begin (or carry on with) the journey towards more content and fulfilling lifestyle.
Abundance thinking begets real abundance, happiness, opportunity and freedom. This much is proven. But it can take months to train your mind and create new habits. So go easy on yourself. Take consistent baby steps and use gentle reminders over time regarding the importance of this foundational and life changing belief.
Understanding Scarcity: What are the symptoms? How do we overcome scarcity?
Believing that situations are permanent.
- The scarcity mentality can lead us to think that ‘things just are the way they are’ because there is a shortage of time, new possibilities and opportunity. According to recent Harvard and Princeton University studies, believing that things are permanent and unchangeable harms our sense of self-worth and drains our will-power from other more productive areas.
- Living for the now, not in the now. This is a huge Living only for the moment allows the present situation to define who we are – to literally own us. It ignores the bigger picture and spoils longer term life goals. Surrendering our long term freedom and lifestyle to the immediate situation is thinking that lacks balance. Alternatively, living in the now is an understanding that immediate desires and other emotions will pass. This allows us to take a higher level view and lay our own path based around only the things most important to us. Living in the now helps us to appreciate each moment as it comes, for better or for worse.
- Hording or holding on to too many things, including over saving. Scarcity involves an inability to let go for fear of there not being enough in the future. It places an overemphasis on what happened in the past, with less emphasis on present and future. This constrains us to a past, full of limitation.
Keys to Abundance:
- Understand that life is changeable and mouldable. A bad day or even a bad year is just that. But by understanding that there is likelihood for things to change for the better is evidence of an abundance mentality. An understanding that things will get better helps us recognise opportunities as they come up because it shifts our focus. Opportunities are abundant and available to everybody, but they only flow to those who are open to them. Scarcity thinking is like a big ‘closed for opportunity’ sign. This is how scarcity begets more scarcity. Unfortunately, negative things will always happen to everyone, but where we focus will define us for life. So, no matter what, keep focus on an abundance of time and opportunity as it applies to you, and you will be naturally drawn there. Be certain of your belief, and allow for as much time as needed.
- Giving things away for free is the most powerful abundance behaviour. Giving away your time, money, knowledge and kindness proves to you that this is who you are, and there is more where that came from. By re-enforcing your abundance mentality in this way, more of what matters most to you will flow naturally into your life. It’s a momentum that builds: abundance begets more abundance. Many studies have also shown that endorphins are released when we give. So there is an instant gratification of giving on a biological level as well.
- Practice focusing on just one simple thing, such as nose breathing or a body sensation. Try it for just 1 minute at a time, and work your way up to an hour. If your mind wanders off focus, that’s OK. By returning to the focused state, you are training your focus to be in the now. Practice will lead to improvement, and like good exercise this will positively affect many areas of your life.
- The unconscious belief that the success of someone else is some sort of failure on your own part. Or that because someone has something, there is less for you. This point often manifests itself as ‘Keeping up with the Jones’s’, and can lead to a harmful form of competition and mutual long term unhappiness. Concerning ourselves with what we don’t have, or what others don’t have is a scarcity focus, and at best limits ourselves to outdoing someone else. Not towards what we can fully accomplish ourselves.
- The feeling that if you gain something, it is something to be ashamed of. This stems from a belief that you must have taken something from someone else – that now they are worse off. This belief is equally limiting. When something is received, give appreciation and thanks. Accept more into your life. There is plenty to go around.
Keys to Abundance:
- Compete with yourself. Competition is not necessarily bad, in fact it can be very good. Its how the competition directs our focus. Try competing against yourself for improvement, and less against others. This will remove limitations and negativity, and help you arrive at a more comfortable and fulfilling place. The most successful business and athletes in the world mainly use this form of self-competition to win.
- Look for Win-Win solutions. This will grow the size of the entire pie, or what’s available to everyone, and transform you into a leader. Likewise, finding solutions to problems that benefit society as a whole will empower and reward you incredibly. Creativity and sheer will are some of the most powerful forces in escaping from scarcity to abundance.
Overindulgence and Impulsiveness.
- Marketers and advertisers get their best results through ‘limited quantities, limited time offers, instant funding and no payments for months’. The truth is, it’s not limited. Acting impulsively in response to this kind of messaging stems from a scarcity mentality, which adds long term stress, limitations and un-fulfilment.
- Having too much stuff will not bring additional happiness. Just like the 5th slice of pizza brings much less happiness than the first, so too does the fifth pair of shoes. This ‘diminishing rate of happiness’ has been proven again, and again in many areas. Instead, like a drug, overindulgence results in short lived bursts of pleasure, in an increasing undercurrent of anxiety and self-limitation.
Keys to Abundance:
- Abundance thinking looks at the big picture and leads to an understanding that there will always be a new and better offer, technology or opportunity. There is lots of time, and products will continue to improve. The computer sale will only get better, and the fashion trend will certainly When you do decide on purchasing something, it fits nicely into your bigger picture plan.
- Get organised and make a plan. By sitting down and starting from a clear slate (or First Principles as it’s called in physics), you can define what you really want and draw a road map of how you will get there. This plan is based on your deeper values and is a long term growth plan. It is a plan for an amazing lifestyle, fulfilment and happiness. A plan that balances an appreciation of today, with an excitement for tomorrow. Then, when scarcity rears its ugly head, you’ll be in a commanding position to judge whether or not the decision contributes to your overall dream and happiness.
The central irony is that by focusing more on abundance, you end up getting more of what you really want over the long term. Abundance thinking provides the foundation on which you can use the tools, services and support available to help to build your dream lifestyle more effectively. Altrua is happy to help out with abundance based financial and lifestyle planning. Also check out these free tools developed by Altrua that can help you take control of your finances, improve your lifestyle and provide lasting peace of mind.
Not Convinced? More Resources:
An argument for Abundance in our world:
A recent academic approach to Scarcity: